Professional summary

Research Interests

I am a terrestrial ecologist with wide ranging interests, but detailed knowledge of population and community ecology (applied ecology, plant-animal interactions, ecological theory) coupled with field and analytical skills. The broad focus of my research is to understand: i) what the key drivers causing declines in wildlife are, and ii) develop and evaluate actions to halt or reverse these declines.

I study a range of taxa from plants, microbes, invertebrates (especially insects) to small mammals and birds and tackle these questions through experimentation, fieldwork, molecular methods, analyses of large datasets, and modelling.

Current research themes

  • interactions between agriculture and biodiversity
  • pollination ecology
  • ecosystem function
  • restoration ecology and conservation 
  • plant community dynamics
  • application of molecular analyses for ecological research (microbiomes, plant outcrossing, population genetic structure)

Research experience

  • Principal investigator on a range of projects.
  • In the last 7 years I have contributed to winning >£10 million of income and have developed new science areas through RM grants (NERC,BBSRC, ERC, EFSA), industrial links (Biobest, Syngenta, Bayer) and provided policy evidence (for stakeholders like NE, Defra, EFSA).
  • Lead for recent critical evaluation of CEH’s National Capability monitoring portfolio (>£4m)
  • Supervisor for completed PhD students, MSc and BSc students - 4 current PhD students
  • Author of over 97 peer-reviewed publications +>30 contract reports ; h index score = 31;  i10 index=50, >4300 citations)
  • Google scholar:

Brief CV

Current position:

CEH Fellow

Roles & Responsibilities

  • BBSRC Pool of Experts
  • NERC Peer Review College member
  • Associate Editor - Journal of Ecology
  • Associate Editor - Journal of Insect Conservation & Diversity
  • Appointed member - Defra Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE)
  • External examiner - Imperial College, London
  • Steering Group member  - Knepp Rewilding Project

Recent Research Projects

  • 2016           NERC Pathfinder – developing the Beesocosm (PI, £17k)
  • 2016-21     Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems (ASSIST). Work Package Leader (value to CEH >£5mill.)
  • 2016-19    BBSRC Sustainable Intensification Network (York, RRES, Exeter; co-PI, £250k)
  • 2013-15    Tansley Working Group “Funkeytraits – Using Key Functional Traits to Develop Ecosystem Service Indicators” (ESPA, Co-organiser, £25k)
  • 2013-2015  EFSA Exposure to multiple chemicals in bees and modelling the effect on bee population dynamics using DEB‐TOX models (PI, £230k)
  • 2013-2016  Pan-European Field-scale Experiment on effects of Neonicitinoid seed dressings on pollinators (Syngenta & Bayer; Project advisor, £2m)
  • 2013-2017  NERC CASE Award. Microbiomes & bumblebee population dynamics. Main supervisor (in collaboration with Biobest & Royal Holloway, £140k)
  • 2013  Review of Status and Value of Pollinators and Pollination services (Defra, Co-I, £35k)
  • 2012-2016  ForestPrime (ERC; mentor and co-I; £1.5 million)
  • 2012-2016  Quantifying the effects of Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) and Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) on biodiversity and ecosystem services at the farm scale. Funded by Defra (Project manager, £490k)
  • 2010-2014  Insect Pollinator Initiative grant “Investigating the impact of habitat structure on  queen and worker bumblebees in the field” (LWEC – BBSRC, NERC, Defra, Scottish Exec., Wellcome Trust ; co-PI, £680k)
  • 2009-2012  Developing a multifunctional arable agri-environment option: enhanced fallow (PI, Defra; £251k)
  • 2006-2011  Quantifying the effects of Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) on biodiversity at the farm scale. Funded by Natural England (Project manager, £490k)
  • 2007-2010  Environmental Change Integrating Fund (co-PI £450k)
  • 2005-2010  Restoration and management of bumblebee habitat in agricultural landscapes (PI £420k, Defra & Natural England)
  • 2004-2006  Monitoring occurrence of GM oilseed rape volunteer in subsequent oilseed rape crops.      Funded by Defra (CEH PI, £78.5k)
  • 2003-2006  Follow-up biodiversity measurements on the FSEs. Funded by Defra (PI; £120k)
  • 1999-2004  Farm Scale Evaluations of the impact of the management of genetically modified herbicide-tolerant crops on farmland wildlife. Funded by Defra (Project co-ordinator; Total cost £5.1 million
  • 2002  A review of research into the environmental and socio-economic impacts of Contemporary and alternative arable cropping systems.  Funded by Defra
  • 2001-2  Modelling the effects on farmland food webs of herbicide and insecticide management in the agricultural ecosystem.  Funded by Defra


  • PhD, and Diploma of Imperial College, London
  • BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences (Botany and Zoology), University College of Wales. 1st Class Honours
  • PRINCE2 practitioner
  • Forest School Programme Leader OCNWMR Level 3

Panels, committees and memberships

  • British Ecological Society
  • Botanical Society of the British Isles